The Sixth Day
I always loved the story of the beginning. In the beginning, things are created. God sees light and parts it from the dark. Dark is not “Bad” and light is not “Good,” it is just“Night” and “Day.” And all the way to the sixth day, when he sees all that he has made, he sees that it is very good.
I think to that story because I forget how impressed I am that a being can look at something and see that it is good. God doesn’t see the dry ground and the gathered waters and think, “This isn’t enough. This isn’t the best I can do.” He only sees that it is good.
It seems everyday we are faced with these moments where we look at something we created. Maybe it’s an entire building, maybe it’s a scarf we’ve knit for a Christmas gift, maybe it's an exam, maybe it’s dinner. Nevertheless, we look at it and we judge it:
This building is the best thing I’ve ever created despite there being no bathrooms on the 8th floor.
This scarf is a little uneven, but I think he will like it. Thought that counts, right?
I should have started studying earlier. Although, what would it matter? My teacher's an idiot and gives everyone B's no matter what.
This dinner is terrible. Why did I even attempt to use my kitchen? Why do I even have a kitchen?
It’s not very often that we simply look at something and think, “This is good.”
Not, “This is good. Could have been done better, but next time.”
Not, “This is good. I hope Dad doesn’t notice the half-assed paint job on the inside.”
Not, “This is good. I wonder if I could do better?”
Not, “This is good. I hope Cathy’s turns out shit.”
Just, “This is good.”
This morning, I walked outside. I wore leggings instead of pants, green striped socks, black toe-covering shoes, a sweater, a hoodie, a scarf, and a winter outer-layer of a coat. I had pinned my hair up, decided to go ahead and wear mascara, and after thinking about it for about 20 seconds, I put on a deep shade of red lipstick.
My cheeks felt the chill of the November air with the first steps on my way to work. I saw the gray (and perhaps artificial) omniscience of the Salt Lake Temple headlining my street. I saw workers and mothers and the homeless dressed alike. Everyone was in layers. I played music in my ears, and felt the wind push a few strands of my hair out of place. I felt the eyes of pedestrians study my lips as if the deep red hue would offer their eyes the warmth they could not find elsewhere. I pressed my lips together to feel the residue of the lipstick and assure myself that the warm color was still there and boldly standing out in a morning painted with cool colors.
The crisp air, the brisk walk, the “pause” and freedom of observation and thought just before work was perfect. In fact, for a second I thought… This is good.
When the restaurant doors opened, and my muscles spent themselves on heaving ice into the cooler, carrying trays full of glasses, balancing hot plates on hands, fingers, and wrists, filling glasses with water without spilling a drop, and skipping any which way to get that extra side of ketchup, mustard, or mayo that was requested as quickly as possible, I had a moment where I became invisible.
A few special customers ventured out of their own conversations to say thank you, however most everyone ate as if I didn’t exist. Everyone was hungry, eating, and happy. Every table that was filled was fulfilled. And after the rush had eaten and paid their check, I wiped my hands on my apron, winked at the chef, put my hands on my hips and thought, “This is good.”
This weekend, we were on top of red rocks. We climbed up like the children we used to be when the sun began to climb down like the sunset it had been only a hours ago. The sky met the blue and red mountains, making its own pastel masterpiece, and the feeling of the air bit our skin a few degrees colder.
For a second, we stopped and looked out. I came close to you, and you wrapped me in your arms. I pressed myself to your chest and smelled you. It’s a simple act, a primal act, leaning in and learning your scent. Somehow, wanting to breathe you in was as normal of a desire as wanting food or wanting warmth. Your hand rested on my head and then crawled down my neck and came down to my arms, leaving traces of their warmth around my body. I wrapped my two hands around your one, and brought it to my face. It was so large and warm, I could have studied your hand and written a paper on it trying to figure out how it came to be that size and that temperature. You kissed me. You told me today was fun. You told me you were happy. I looked out at the mountains, at the land that went on--not forever--but for miles and miles, and looked at you. I thought, “This is good.”
And I know when you hold me, when you see me laugh, when I touch your shoulder, when I smell you, when I give you space, when I tell you that you are, in fact, beautiful, when you catch me staring at you… I know you think, “This is good. . . I wonder what else is out there?”
After all, we are young, we are beautiful, we are smart, we are strong.
There is so much out there. How could you not wonder?
And I know that there is always more. I don’t think that looking beyond the mountains, beyond the horizon, and wondering, “What other treasures are there?” is greedy. I think it’s a natural desire, a curious desire, a beautiful desire. I think wanting more, wanting something better, and not letting something be enough can lead to improvements, advancements, and indeed, something more and something better.
And I don’t know how I sometimes look at something and simply think, “This is good.” And I don't know if I'm wrong or right, if it's a moment in the light or a moment in the dark for me.
People search for the Holy Grail all their lives. Perhaps some find it, some don’t. How do we choose a cup to drink from? How do we look at something and not think we could do better? How do we know when we’re right? How can we be sure?
I don’t know.
What if when we say, “This is good,” we are settling? What if it is good, but we continue to look about and never realize how good we had it? What if it is good, but Johnny has something better?
I don’t know.
I just know that in Genesis, God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. He created something. He saw the beauty in it. And somehow, he knew it was enough. Maybe only God can do that.
I also know that God flooded the world of all that wasn't good anymore (according to the Bible, at least). Maybe on that sixth day, he was wrong. Or maybe on that sixth day, he was right...Just things changed so many days and people later.
However, I also know that I’m sitting on my bed in a blue sweater and cotton undies, wrapped in green blankets, writing about how one can be sure about things we can’t be sure of, listening to instrumental playlists, day dreaming about blue eyes and red painted desert terrain, and am just about ready to set aside my computer for a cup of tea...and I feel truly, despite my shortcomings, my need to make rent next month, and my runny nose and unrelenting headache: This is good.
Really, truly. For me, this is good.